The Big DCEU Challenge for Hawkman Is His Backstory

Hawkman has a complicated comic book backstory, and simplifying it in the DCEU will be the biggest challenge for him. Hawkman has made his cinematic debut in Black Adam as the leader of the Justice Society, with Aldis Hodge portraying the stalwart hero. As Dwayne Johnson’s plans for both Black Adam and the Justice Society’s future in the DCEU begin to unfold, how Hawkman will be established is a far more convoluted prospect than other characters.

While most superheroes have undergone some level of re-invention in their comic book histories, Hawkman essentially has two different backstories from the various versions of his history. With Hawkman’s two parallel origin stories being different to the point of being contradictory, the challenge for him lies in the DCEU deciding definitively which version of Hawkman it will include. With that said, there is also a strong argument that the best solution might be one that has been seen multiple times in the comics of simply combining elements of both versions of Hawkman.

Hawkman’s Different Comic Book Origins


Though Black Adam omits Hawkman’s re-incarnation powers, this is a staple of the first Hawkman in the Golden Age of comics, Carter Hall. Originally the ancient Egyptian prince Khufu, he is re-incarnated as Carter Hall in modern times, alongside his love Chay-Ara, who takes on the civilian name Shiera Sanders Hall. After regaining his memories as Prince Khufu, Carter assembles his wing suit from Nth metal to become Hawkman, with Sheira doing the same as Hawkgirl. As Hawkman, Carter Hall is also one of the founding members of the Justice Society of America.

The Katar Hol Hawkman is a Silver Age rebooted version of the character and a cop on the planet Thanagar, Katar’s wings created his father Paran Katar from Nth metal. Katar and Shayera Thal would eventually be deployed to Earth on a mission and decide to stay as the heroes Hawkman and Hawkgirl. Clearly, these two Hawkman backstories are quite divergent and remain among Black Adam‘s unanswered questions. Even within the two Hawkman origin stories, there have been numerous variations and re-inventions applied to each, while different adaptations have had to pick and choose which versions to follow. Meanwhile, Hawkman’s first big-screen appearance in Black Adam leaves a fair amount of flexibility for his future.

How The DCEU Can Use Both Of Hawkman’s Backstories

Black Adam does not go that deep into Hawkman’s origins aside from his long standing friendship with Dr. Fate (Pierce Brosnan), and the fact that Aldis Hodge’s incarnation of Hawkman uses the name Carter Hall suggests the DCEU is leaning towards his Egyptian origins (though the Katar Hol Hawkman has used Carter Hall as an alias). Carter’s comment to the clairvoyant Dr. Fate that he does not fear death also seemingly alludes to Carter’s power of reincarnation. A fairly easy way to reconcile Hawkman’s unusual comic book history for his film portrayal could lie in using the Carter Hall version as the basis of the character while integrating aspects of his alternate Thanagarian backstory. Carter’s use of Nth metal for his wings, suit, and the Justice Society’s flying cruiser could exemplify how that could be accomplished.

While Nth metal is associated with both versions of Hawkman, its connection to Thanagar could be reworked into Carter and Shayera’s ancient Egyptian origins. Thanagar could be introduced as a planet and alien race without Carter and Shayera’s direct connections to it along with being where Nth metal originates from in the DCEU. That, in turn, could open the possibility of Hawkman and Hawkgirl visiting Thanagar in a way that flips their Thanagar-based origins from the comics as one of Black Adam‘s DCEU changes. Alternatively, the DC Rebirth era established Katar Hol of Thanagar as one of the many reincarnations of Prince Khufu. As one of the more streamlined narratives of Hawkman’s origins, using this for his DCEU origin story could present the simplest solution to the Hawkman issue. At any rate, with Hawkman having such compelling comic book origin stories in both ancient Egypt and Thanagar, pinning down his origins within in the DCEU will take a bit more effort than other characters. After his introduction in Black Adam, the ideal means of doing so could lie in a middle ground between the two to establish Hawkman’s place in the DCEU as the Justice Society’s leader and an ally of Henry Cavill’s Superman, as well.

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments